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Thinkin’ Out Loud

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Dover–2 Race Recap

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Dover–2 Race Recap

*Key Moment* - The caution flag flew for Matt Kenseth breaking a track bar mount on lap 310. The lead lap cars pitted and Brad Keselowski never visited pit road again, making his tank of fuel last 89 laps en route to his fifth win of the season and second of the Chase. *In a Nutshell* - Denny Hamlin led early, Kyle Busch led the most, Jimmie Johnson was poised to lead at the end, but Brad Keselowski made his fuel go the furthest while going the fastest at the end of the race. Read More »

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Chicagoland Race Recap

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Chicagoland Race Recap

*Key Moment* - Brad Keselowski took the lead after the final round of green flag pit stops and had a car that was simply better than everyone else for the final run to the checkered flag. *In a Nutshell* - Another insomnia curing mile-and-a-half race starts off the Chase with a handful of “title contenders” already all but out of the hunt. Jimmie Johnson dominated the race but when it came time to claim the big, fake check his car just couldn’t keep up with the blue deuce. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Richmond-2 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Richmond-2 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – On lap 313, Clint Bowyer managed to pass Ryan Newman and he never yielded that position the rest of the night. The true turning point of the race, though, occurred at lap 277 when a caution flag flew for a light rain shower. Most of the leaders, including the dominant cars of Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. decided not to pit figuring given the late hour and dismal weather radar screens the race would not resume. When it became clear the green flag was going to fly again, both the Nos. 11 and 88 ducked into the pits and out of contention. Read More »

Thinkin’ Out Loud – ADVOCARE 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway

Thinkin’ Out Loud – ADVOCARE 500 – Atlanta Motor Speedway

*Key Moment –* A green-white-checker finish saw Denny Hamlin grab the lead and hold off Jeff Gordon to take his series leading fourth win of the season. *In A Nutshell –* The first 35 laps of the race saw five on-track passes for the lead. The next 285 laps saw typical aero-dependent, intermediate track racing that had long green flag runs with little suspense. The last five laps saw a caution, a green-white-checker finish, a heartbreak, a second consecutive win, and a four-time champion second-guessing if he should have moved the eventual winner. Read More »

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bristol Night Race Recap

*In a Nutshell –* The latest “new” Bristol is still not the Bristol of old. But between the buzz, the wrecks and a decent crowd, the August night race resembled its former self for the first time since the pre-Chase era. *Dramatic Moment –* Matt Kenseth aggressively drove underneath Tony Stewart battling for position on lap 333, leading the two to both crowd each other exiting the corner and ending with both drivers ending up slamming the inside wall with wrecked race cars. Kenseth was able to drive away, but his damage wasn’t complete; one lap later, an angry Stewart threw his helmet at Kenseth’s No. 17 exiting pit road, nailing the Fusion decal on the front hood of the vehicle. Stewart went after Kenseth in post-race remarks, noting “I’m going to run over him every chance I get” when asked how he’d race a likely-to-be Chase competitor going forward. Read More »

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Michigan-2 Race Recap

Thinkin’ Out Loud: Michigan-2 Race Recap

*Key Moment* - Jimmie Johnson had the dominant car once "Mark Martin was speared by the pit wall opening in a scary, mid-race crash.":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0sis-ZL7w8 But as J.J. was strolling to what would have been his series-leading fourth victory, a valve spring failed with less than 15 miles left to run. That handed Greg Biffle Christmas in August, gift-wrapping him a second victory after a green-white-checkered finish and a pesky push from Michigan native Brad Keselowski. *In a Nutshell* - The race doesn't always go to the swift, but be warned; each race appears destined to be Jimmie Johnson's these days when the No. 48 team doesn't beat themselves. Oh, and cookie cutters don't always need to be repaved. Michigan makes the old Charlotte levigation experiment look like an award-winning national construction project by comparison. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Watkins Glen Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Watkins Glen Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – This one wasn’t over until the checkered flag was thrown. Wow. *In a Nutshell* – I’m still not a fan of NASCAR road course racing but I liked Sunday’s race a whole bunch. Fenders banging, tempers flaring, the old bump and run and a wholesale change in the running order… what’s not to like? *Dramatic Moment* – That entire last lap was about as wild as anything I’ve seen on a race track in many a moon. We’ll give Kyle Busch some style points for his three-wide kamikaze pass to take the lead on the final restart as well. Ambrose’s eyes were wide as saucers when he saw what Busch did. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Pocono-2 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Pocono-2 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Jimmie Johnson, who had dominated the race, had his car get out from under him on the final restart and collected second-place Matt Kenseth. From there, it was on. *In a Nutshell* – Mother Nature turned the Pocono race into a high stakes, very loud and damp high-speed game of musical chairs. *Dramatic Moment* – When the field lined up for the final restart, Biblical downpours had reached the edges of the track’s property and the rest of the field knew they had one last shot at Johnson’s dominant No. 48 car. That’s like throwing a prime rib to a pack of starving dogs. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Brickyard 400 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Brickyard 400 Race Recap

*In a Nutshell* – The Brickyard 400… the ultimate example of sizzle over steak. *Dramatic Moment* – One lazy evening this week, I painted a model car body for a project I’m working on. Watching the paint dry was more exciting than Sunday’s “race.” *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* They’ll likely be talking about *the Olympics,* not Sunday’s farce of a race. How bad was this event? By lap 18, there was a 17-second gap between the leader and the tenth-place driver. It might not have been a great race, but Indy certainly earned the award for the *most ridiculous name of a race* this year. The event was officially _The 19th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtis Shaver 400 at The Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records._ Oh, and if you watched at home, thanks to our buds at ESPN they were showing the _19th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtis Shaver 400 at The Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records telecast presented by Golden Corral._ Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: New Hampshire-1 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: New Hampshire-1 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Denny Hamlin dominated much of the race but miscommunication in the pits dropped him to fourteenth. Kasey Kahne inherited the lead and with clean air on the nose of his Chevy drove to an easy win. *In a Nutshell* – The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong. *Dramatic Moment* – Hamlin’s determined drive over those final laps to get back to the lead was something to watch, especially at a track where passing is so difficult. Read More »